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Attic24 by Lucy @ Attic24 - 3d ago

Yesterday it was the longest day of the year and we were blessed with a very beautiful sunshiny evening to celebrate.

19.15 :: Dinner done and dusted, chilled glass of white wine in hand, sitting in my back yard doing nothing but look up at the sky. Appreciating the warmth and light of a mid summer evening, being in the moment with it all.

19.58 :: overcome by a mad craving for cake, I launch myself into action in the kitchen and bake a small batch of buns, top them with elderflower cordial icing and rice paper butterflies. Delish!

21.52 I decide to head out for a short walk to watch the last of the day fade away. Sadly nobody wants to come with me, so off I go on my own to celebrate a Solo Summer Solstice. I climb up to the foot of the steep grassy hill which leads to the woods and spend a while leaning over the wooden fence just breathing in the colour of the sky. Almost ten o'clock and still beautifully light and blue.

22.01 :: Walking slowly home along the canal, sounds of music and laughter coming from the outdoor pub terrace. Feeling mellow and so happy in the moment, me and myself enjoying the outdoor ambiance (who needs company anyway?!)

22.38 :: Back home again and it is still daylight.....seriously! I make myself a big mug of tea, grab a crochet blanket and a candle and snuggle myself up in the back yard to enjoy the very last of the longest day. 

22.48 :: A bat flits around right overhead and I make a stupid number of attempts to photograph it. Most of them look like a streaky smudge in the sky, but the above one at least shows some blurry wings. I'm calling that a result.

22.57 :: suddenly yawning my head off, the day has finally caught up with me. The sky is still blue, but I feel the chill of the night descending and so I head indoors to the comfort of bed.

Happy Summer Solstice......!

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Attic24 by Lucy @ Attic24 - 5d ago

We've not had the greatest Summer weather here lately, it's been incredibly wet and cool for June. The upside to all the falling wet stuff is the complete and utter lushness of the countryside, it's just so greeeeeeeen and beautiful everywhere, if a bit on the damp side.

On Monday morning J and I drove up into the Yorkshire Dales to walk around the picturesque village of Malham. This is only a short walk (around 4 miles), heading out of the village across lush green fields and into the small woodland that surround  Janets Foss waterfall

From there it's a steep climb up....

....until you eventually reach the top of the magnificent Malham Cove.

This limestone pavement is world famous (I'm saying that, but I'm not sure if that's actually true? It feels like it should be famous though!). Famous or not, it's an amazing geological feature and the subject of many school geography lessons.

It's not especially easy terrain to walk on and the "grykes" (the gaps between the limestone rocks) are pretty deep. But it's fun to hop from rock to rock, making a slow journey from one side to the other.

J really doesn't do well with heights, so I ventured on my own towards the edge of the cove to take in the spectacular view down the valley. It was drizzling with rain at this point so a little murky and grey, but nevertheless still very beautiful.

The descent from the top of the cove is via a very, very long higgledy piggeldy run of stone steps. Malham cove is 260 feet high, so that's a lot of steps....over four hundred of them believe it or not. It makes you very quickly realise you have a whole heap load of muscles in your legs that don't very often get a work out.

I took regular stops on the way down to admire the long distance views and to appreciate the close up details too. There was lots of wild thyme flowering amongst the rocks and the colours seemed even more vibrant that usual in the dull, grey light.

It always amazes me when we reach the bottom and look up to see how very, very high that limestone cliff face is.....and to realise that we were up there ON TOP just a short time ago. Wow....it takes my breath away. Every. Time.

The stroll back to the village is gentle and scenic.....

.....a beautiful meandering path through flowery meadows.....

....then a short jaunt down a quiet country lane.

It was lunch time when we arrived back into the village, so we decided on a welcome sit down in the local pub for a quiet drink and a very tasty light lunch.

It was a lovely day, and for the gazillionth time I said my silent thanks of gratitude for the six child-free hours that J and I get to spend together every Monday. It's such a blessing.

Back on the home front and summer is still blooming....it's Peony Paradise right there on my table this week, and I am so happy about it! One bud is still to open, but the other four stems are putting on a spectacular floral show. I am enjoying these flowers so much and drink in their beauty many, many times during the day.

Yesterday evening I rounded up Little B and asked him if he wanted to come with me on an elderflower gathering expedition. He was overflowing with enthusiasm (sweet boy) and so at 7.30, off we went into the soft early evening to see what we could find.

We have a place that we visit each year to gather elderflowers - even though they are very common hedgerow trees and grow in abundance around our neighbourhood, I prefer to go somewhere quiet and out of the way to snip and gather (rather than the local park where folk can be a bit on the blunt side when they see you snipping at trees, say no more).

The place we go now is a very quiet little lane off the beaten track on the edge of town - we can easily walk there, but it's out of the way and there are about eight trees that are can gather from so that we leave plenty behind for the wildlife. 

I put Little B on snipping duty which he was thrilled about - you can see how big and blowsy those flower heads are....

....we had no problem gathering in the fifty or so heads that we needed for cordial making. In fact, there were so many flowers this year that I'm probably going to head back again at the weekend if it stays dry and gather in enough for a second batch. 

I did two batches last year so that I could stash away some small plastic bottles of cordial in the freezer. It was such a delicious treat to pull them out in winter and have an instant reminder of summertime.

I called into the supermarket after the school run this morning and lugged back the huge two kilo bag of sugar along with the lemons and oranges that go with the flowers to make Elderfower cordial. It's extremely simple to make and the recipe I use is one that I adapted from Sarah Raven (I use less sugar in mine).

There you go ↑↑↑ I made this for me to print and keep, so thought I'd share it with you too.

Citric acid is magic stuff and super-easy to find online....Amazon sell it (of course they do, they pretty much sell anything). Although you usually have to buy it in 500g quantities, it's not too expensive and keeps for years if you seal it up well. Find it on Amazon ((here)).

The scent of this flowery concoction is a bit odd as it's "cooking" and to be honest it doesn't smell especially good. But........oh the resulting syrupy drink is absolutely divine I promise you. It's floral, sweet and citrusy and refreshingly zingy. I love love love it, it's a taste of summer that I never tire of.

You dilute the cordial with water (sparkling water is especially good), or add a splash to a glass of prossecco or gin/tonic for something a little bit more weekendish. Oooo, now I'm really looking forward to my weekend summer tipple....it'll probably be the highlight of my Saturday!

The sun was in and out today, with a surprising fall of light summer rain catching me out on my way home from the shops this morning. The kitty follows the sun around the furniture, usually finding a warm patch of sunlit crochet to curl up on for her extended daytime naps. She isn't really a laid back cat (she is a feisty little diva) but there are occasions when she really does appear to be very mellow indeed.

Over on the sofa this morning I found a monster lurking - like you do. Little B is running on Summer time and is getting up pretty early in the mornings right now. It's not unusual for him to be pottering around at 6am, immersed in his own nine year old world of play. He goes through phases where none of his toys interest him any more and all he wants is screen time (insane cartoons mostly) but at the moment there is a lot of playtime happening and I have to say it delights me no end. Long may it last. We've got four more weeks left of the school year here, then we are into the six week summer break, so I'm hoping the play phase carries on for a good while yet. Please let it (silent plea).

I've not photographed my view for a while, so I took a quick snap today as we walked to the top of the hill on our way home. The light was so clear after the earlier splash of rain, and everything is looking beautifully green and lush. 

Summer time always makes me want to feel lighter, healthier and more energised, so I'm making an effort to curb my sweet tooth and am forcing myself to stay away from the calorie laden pastries and biscuits when I go shopping. Instead I've been buying extra fruit, not just the ordinary every day fruits that we always have in (apples, pears, oranges, bananas), but special fruity things like mango and strawberries and passion fruit. I really love fruit so it's not a hardship to snack on a plate of it, I've just not got to be so lazy about preparing it for myself. 

I am so in love with these long, light days. Even when it's been raining and miserable and I've lit the candles to banish the gloom, I still love that the darkness doesn't creep in until well past ten o'clock at night. It's a magical time of year - Summer Solstice tomorrow and I'm keeping all crossed for a dry evening so that we can head out and celebrate. I'm not sure what we'll do - I kind of hope that there's cake or ice cream involved, and possibly a glass of chilled prossecco, but who knows whether I can motivate the family to head out into the greenery and be mid-summerish with me? I've been remembering this day, gosh, six years ago now, how is this possible? Our family dynamic has changed considerably since then and I am so grateful for my blog and the beautiful window it gives me back into the past. Happy memories indeed.

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Attic24 by Lucy @ Attic24 - 1w ago

I can't tell you how happy I am to be sharing this project with you as it has simmered on my back burner for such an embarrassingly long time. I've lost count of the number of times it's been on my to-do list over the past few years, but anyhoooooo, it is here now and I'm super happy about it!

I created this bunting pattern quite a few years ago for Simply Crochet magazine (it appeared in issue 19; 2014). The original design was made of 12 triangles all in shades of blue - you can read more about it on my blog by clicking on the following link : ATTIC24 SUMMER BLUES BUNTING

I then went on to make an all pink version with the idea that they would make lovely gifts to decorate a baby's nursery or a child's bedroom. You can buy both blue and pink bunting kits in my shop at Wool Warehouse - each kit contains 4 x 100g Stylecraft Special DK, 13 cute little blue/pink spotty buttons and a printed pattern.

♥ BLUE BUNTING KIT ♥ 

♥ PINK BUNTING KIT ♥

I wonder if any of you recognise the colours above? This is yarn left over after I made my cupcake blanket in the Spring of 2016, aren't they pretty? I remember at the time that it was Easter and I decided that these colours would work really well made up into some pretty Spring/Easter bunting for my fireplace which was looking a tad bare.


I made fifteen triangles so that the bunting would easily fit across my fireplace mantel....

....I think it measures around 190 cm in total.

I loved it the moment it was hung in place, and it has been hanging there ever since. I've made some additional seasonal garlands for my fireplace in the last few years so it does get changed around a little according to the time of year. I have my Autumn Garland and Winter Balls (oh yeah, I do love my balls!), but there is something so upbeat about seeing a cute string of decorative bunting and I really look forward to bringing it out every Spring/Summer.

If you make as many blankets as I do, you will know how quickly the stash bag fills up. After each blankety creation I'll have fifteen part-balls of yarn left over - sometimes it's not a lot in terms of quantity, but other times there can be around 25g of each colour left. The above bag contains 30 colours of  Stylecraft Special DK  left over from making the Sweet Pea and Dune blankets. As soon as I'd gathered all these colours together I knew that I would be making good use of them. They make me feel reaaaaaally happy, they just shout SUMMER to me, all breezy and floral,  light, warm and pretty.

I began making these bunting triangles whilst I was away in France last month. I wanted an easy, portable project that could be tucked into my rucksack, something that I could easily sit and crochet whilst chatting and socialising. This quick and easy pattern was perfect, and I really, really enjoyed diving into my bag of yarn scraps and picking out some fairly random (but very pretty) colour combinations. 

Each bunting triangle is made up of four rounds, and I used a different colour for each round. I found the easiest way to manage the colour selections was to work one round at a time. So I made fifteen round-1 triangles all in different colours, then began adding the second round to each triangle, choosing a new colour every time. Then all the round 3's,  and finally all the edging rounds. You can see in the above photo that I've selected colours to crochet up the final edging rounds, making sure that each triangle was edged in a different colour, and no two triangles were the same. Good chocolate and coffee helps a lot with colour-making decisions, it's a well known fact.

The above stack shows the fifteen edging rounds arranged in a pretty pastel rainbow order...impossibly pretty! Hmm....I've just had a thought that maybe you might like me to list these colours of SSDK for you? OK.....brain engaged......I'll give it my best shot! From the top.....

Powder Pink : Clematis : Pale Rose : Blush : Camel : Pistachio : Sage : Duck Egg : Cloud Blue : Lavender : Violet : Plum : Pomegranate : Magenta.

I think I nailed it.

I had a little play with my triangles and decided on the above order for my bunting string, resisting the urge to try and be too controlling. I just tried to evenly balance them (eg. placing stronger colours at the ends and in the centre, making sure the pinks/green/blues were evenly distributed etc) and I'm very happy with the random look.

As you can see, each triangle is pretty cute and small, hence the "Baby Bunting" name I settled on. Each triangle measures around 12 cm across the top edge after it's been lightly steam blocked.

I chose three different colours to create the connecting band which joins the triangles together.

Joining the triangles couldn't be easier. There is no spacing between them so the first joining row is simply a continuous row of double crochet which moves from one triangle to the next without any chains or spacing needed. 

The second row is Half Treble, and the final third row is double crochet to finish.

I've explained it all in the tutorial, which you can find in the sidebar of my blog, or click on the following link to find it :

BABY BUNTING TUTORIAL

If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you will know how much I love buttons and I often use them to add a little bit of extra decoration to my crochet projects. To my mind, bunting and buttons is a match made in heaven and I absolutely knew that by making the connecting band three rows wide it would give me enough space to indulge in some button happiness! 

After having a chat with my wonderful friends at Wool Warehouse about my Button Needs, we put together some small packs of very cute little buttons that are perfect additions for all sorts of crochet projects. I created two different button packs, each containing 16 little buttons (8 colours, 2 of each). The above photo shows the "pastel" set.....

....and this one up above is the "Brights" set. I love them soooo much! Each set of 16 buttons costs £1.50 (crikey, I just typed in £150, that would have given you a shock!!!).

Ahh, you can see in the photo above that a few years ago I made some Baby Bunting using leftovers from my Summer Harmony blanket (using the Original yarn pack of 17 colours). I'm embarrassed to say that I never got around to joining them and they are still sat in a pile...oh dear. I shall have to remedy that - those little buttons go really well with the stronger shades of Stylecraft Special DK don't you think? I'll put direct links to the button packs just down below for you, if you like buttons as much as I do, maybe they might make you happy?!

PASTEL buttons (16 x buttons - 8 pastel colours, 2 of each colour)

BRIGHT buttons (16 x buttons - 8 bright colours, 2 of each colour)

You can see how perfect the buttons look when they are stitched to the bunting, I just love love love them!

It's such a wonderful feeling to turn a Work-in-Progress into a Finished Object, and I felt truly delighted when I stitched the very last button on to my Baby Bunting. It had taken me a whole day to create the tutorial (which includes the buttons) so it felt like a lot of work to get to that end point, but in reality, this is a very easy and quick project to pull together. Honestly, it is!

Ta-dah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Super cute Baby Bunting, perfect for bringing a dose of happy cheer to any situation or occasion.

I am so enjoying this new version on my mantel right now as the colours are a bit more summery than the previous Cupcake-coloured bunting which was more springlike. 

I keep coming into the room and forgetting that I've recently faffed my mantel. It makes me feel all giddy when I see it looking so pretty and summery, especially as we've been having the most un-summery weather this week.

So pretty.....I honestly love it.

I just wanted to tell you about these fabulous little hanging clips that I use on my mantel, they are made by Command and called "Decorating Clips" and I can highly recommend them. They are strong and stick easily to wood or any smooth surface, but don't do any damage if you want to take them off again. Being transparent and pretty small, they work extremely well for hanging bunting or fairy lights, you can find them on Amazon {{HERE}}.

So I think I've told you everything you need to know about my crochet bunting, and I would be thrilled to hear if you have a go at making your own. It's a lovely summer project - tuck a few little balls of yarn into your bag with a crochet hook and don't go anywhere without it - you never know when you might be able to sit and work a few soothing rounds.

Here are some links that might be helpful ::

  ♥ BABY BUNTING TUTORIAL

Pastel buttons (16 x buttons - 8 pastel colours, 2 of each colour)

Bright buttons (16 x buttons - 8 bright colours, 2 of each colour)

Pink Bunting Pack (4 x 100g Stylecraft Special DK, plus 13 spotty pink buttons and printed pattern)

Blue Bunting Pack (4 x 100g Stylecraft Special DK, plus 13 spotty blue buttons and printed pattern)

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Happy bunting-making!

xoxo

 

 

 

 

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Attic24 by Lucy @ Attic24 - 1w ago

♥ Three things that have made me feel heart skippy happy today.... ♥

♥ Thing # 1 :: on my table ♥

Peonies.

♥ Five gloriously beautiful stems of pink peonies in my favourite pink button jug on my table. These flowers are such a treat, they are quite expensive for supermarket blooms but I find them irresistible at this time of year. They promise to deliver in spades as their petals oh-so-slowly begin to unfold in the warmth of home. I am beyond delighted to have them on my table and keep stopping to admire them this way and that. Such beauties.

♥ Thing # 2 :: also on my table ♥

Colourful crochet stripes.

♥ Despite sharing my fairly substantial hooky to-do list with you yesterday, it appears that I needed to add just one more thing. I am at that stage with all my projects where I need to either sit and count/concentrate (heel turn on a sock, working the handle on my basket) or photograph while I hook (granny bag, Yarndale project), so I needed something simple that I could take to the cafe for knit and natter. Despite the very strong urge, I decided for the sixty-seventh time this month to resist starting another blanket and instead I have started to make some new yarn bomb bits for Yarndale - lamp post covers to be exact. It's certainly made me happy today, these rainbow brights are a real tonic on a grey, drizzly-damp summers day.

♥ Thing # 3 :: in my memory ♥

A walk in the wood, with wildlife sightings.

♥ A quick jaunt into the woods this afternoon before the school run, to breath in the scent of damp earth and bathe in the lush, green, oxygenated air. We spent a while beside the dam pond, and were rewarded with some amazing wildlife - a pair of kingfishers darting in and out of the water and most incredibly a terrapin sunbathing on a log (yes, a real, live actual terrapin!!!!). Using the super-zoom on my camera I managed to get the above blurry shot when the kingfisher settled on the same log as the terrapin. A-mazing. We had heard the tale about terrapins living in this pond, but it was the first time we'd ever seen one for ourselves, honestly, unexpected nature-things always blow my mind just a little. 

Hoping all's well with you and that your day has contained some heart-skippy happy things too...

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Attic24 by Lucy @ Attic24 - 1w ago

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the day with my lovely friend Christine who traveled on the train from Winwick to Atticland. We try and get together once a month, mainly for the absolute fun of it but also I guess this would be the closest either of us get to spending time with a " work colleague". Being self employed and working in a solitary way for the most part always feels one hundred percent the right thing for me as I am a natural introvert. But I am also a Libran who craves balance and I do enjoy socialising in small doses. I'm very lucky that I get to spend time with like minded souls at my twice weekly creative get-togethers at Coopers Cafe (which is where I have my studio), as well as regular meet ups with other blogging and yarny friends.

When Christine and I get together, we generally talk a lot about our respective projects - what we are currently working on, as well as our ideas and plans for future crochet/knit designs and commissions. It's like an informal mentoring session if you like, and one thing that Christine is always very good at is inspiring me to try and be more organised. She helps me unravel the jumble of thoughts and ideas that always feel like they are stuck in a tangled mess inside my Creative Mind, encouraging me to write things down and make proper, realistic to-do lists for myself. It's like having my own personal time management guru/life coach, she is so good at it! I always end the day feeling very much lighter after she helps me do a crochet "brain dump" onto paper, and the feeling of relief afterwards always amazes me. 

So last night I sat and wrote out a whole big mega-list of the crochet projects I want to complete through the remainder of June, then July, August and September. And as is quite often the case, I felt like I wanted to share some of it with you as I thought you might enjoy an insight into what's happening in my creative life right now.

Top of my list this week is to create the tutorial and share the pattern for my Baby Bunting. I've been meaning to do this for such a long time (four years, seriously. Cripes, how's that for a procrastination gold star?!), so today I made it happen. 

I spent a good number of hours taking all the step-by-step photographs this morning, and I'm aiming to have it all pulled together and published over the weekend. I'm so HAPPY that I'm finally on the home stretch with this, as I know so many of you have been waiting very patiently.

Late this afternoon I decided to conduct a little bit of seasonal Mantel Faffery as I wanted to photograph  the bunting in situ to show you how it looks when it's hung. I packed away the bits of creative Spring and ventured into the Cupboard of Doom to find some summery bits and bobs. I had totally forgotten about these little cotton jar covers which I made last year as part of my monthly "Making the Seasons" project - you can find pattern details and read more about them ((here)). Instead of putting candles inside, I put flowers and feathers in and I love how they look - instant summer vibes right there!

The canvas on the right is by Annabel Burton and the greetings card next to it is from a painting by Natalie Rymer.

I've got the most beautiful scented candle burning on my mantel at the moment - the Ginger and Lime fragrance is so fresh and zingy and just the kind of scent that makes me feel uplifted and happy. It was a gift from Lady B, purchased with great ceremony from the very posh and expensive "The Home" inside Salts Mill. Gosh that place is full of very beautiful but scary expensive merchandise, and I am a bit in awe of having such a costly candle on my very humble mantel. It really does smell divine though.

I found my little daisy cross stitch in the cupboard (awwwwww, I do love this little make!) - you can read more about that ((here)). And for those of you who's eyes have been drawn to the super-cute little pencil house - that was made by the very talented Emma Verner Designs. Do go and take a  look at her work, it really is beautiful and very unique.

Hmmm.......I seem to have gotten a bit side tracked with my mantel, sorry!!! I'll show you more of the bunting when I write up  a little bit of a post for it once the pattern's ready to go.

Next on my list (next week hopefully), I am desperate to get back to my Granny Bag which I started at the beginning of last month. I've got all the squares made and the handles completed (yes, yes, this bag will have stripy crochet handles!!!) and I am really excited to carry on with this creative journey. The squares now need joining and I want to photograph the process to form part of a big granny bag tutorial, so I'll need to set time aside for that. I'll be lining this bag too, so I need to search for some suitable fabric - this isn't an easy project to pull together as there are lots of different stages which all need to be documented with photographs, but it's just the kind of thing that I love to do. It means I'll eventually be able to share a full pattern and tutorial with you, I hope you're going to love it as much as I am.

This week I've also been working on my felted basket project - this is another thing which has been simmering on the back burner for quite a while. Currently I'm on version 3.0, and have just frogged back five huge rounds as the shaping wasn't quite right. It's slow going, but I'll be getting this ready in time for Yarndale so there's still a little bit of time and space to work through the design niggles. 

I ordered some of these lobster swivel clasps which arrived yesterday and I absolutely love the coppery colour. I've got a little decorative crochet project in mind which needs one of these - it'll be my contribution to this year's Yarndale brochure (I always create a small crochet pattern for the brochure each year). I'm looking forward to getting it out of my Creative Mind and into reality, it's going to be something fun and colourful  :)

Talking of Yarndale, very high on my to-do list is to finalise this year's Creative Community project. Remember last year we collected a kaleidoscope of butterflies? This year is going to be a little bit different and I've still got a bit of work to do on the design aspect of the project. We're working with an amazing and very deserving charity, and I'm really looking forward to sharing it with everyone. 

There are other things on my list - believe it or not, it's now time for me to start creating the palette and design for my next CAL blanket which will launch in November. Working with yarn companies means that everything has to happen waaaaaaaay in advance, and so I need to apply myself to that in a gentle, ongoing way so that important colour decisions aren't rushed. I already know what my source of colour inspiration is going to be and I am very very very excited about it..........kind of weak at the knees excited!!!!! But that's not for you to know just yet, it's my personal little secret for now. Eeeeeeppppp!!!!!

And there endeth my fairly substantial list of summer crochet projects - I feel really happy about everything on my creative plate right now and my days are just the right kind of busy.

Do tell me what you're making at the moment, and whether you make creative to-do lists for yourself? I'd love to hear what's floating your boat right now.

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Attic24 by Lucy @ Attic24 - 1w ago

This light and golden time of year has me completely under it's spell and I feel like I can't possibly get enough of it. These early summer days are just so abundantly beautiful and make me very happy. It's just never, ever enough.

Last week I had my Dad and Lady B visiting from Dorset, and we had a lot of fun being tourists with them in our own patch. We took the train to Salts Mill to see Hockney's "Arrival of Spring" which was magical. We walked at Bolton Abbey, had brunch in one of our favourite places, wandered around Skipton market, pootled through local woodland and riverside meadows and drove along summery lanes through the Yorkshire Dales. It was really lovely, but mildly exhausting. Of course, school stuff and household stuff still had to happen alongside touristy activity and I also cooked us all an evening meal every day except for one (hello, very welcome and delicious curry delivered to the door!). It surprised me the difference it made cooking for seven people instead of our usual five, I felt like there was so much chopping and stirring in my life.

One golden evening last week I was hit with the annual pull to go and walk in the buttercup meadow. These seasonal rituals are so strong and I find it almost impossible to resist when they call. Little B and Lady B came with me, a short five minute jaunt up to the park and through the wooden gate into the meadow. It was utterly glorious, the perfect summer evening full of gentle warmth, low golden sunlight and long slanting shadows. Little B and Lady B spent an aaaaage searching for four leaf clovers (it always seem to be a thing we do when out with Lady B), while I pranced about with my camera swooning over the beauty of it all. 

The fairground was there in the background, setting up in the park ready for the towns' annual Gala at the weekend. It all felt very summery indeed, and hugely nostalgic and emotional somehow. I'm always so greedy for Summer to be way longer than it actually is. It's almost like I'm on the verge of a mild anxiety attack every time I happen to get a whiff of what date it is and realise we are so, so close to the summer solstice already and as such, these delicious mid-summer days are numbered. Wahhh!!!!! I am aiming to squeeze every last drop out of this summer, no matter what the weather throws I want to be out there drinking it in. Next up......elderflower cordial season, yippee for that little highly anticipated seasonal jaunt!

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ps, I've gotten a bit behind with my blogging, but will try and catch up this week if I can - I need to take you to Amsterdam and France, get your passports ready?! x

 

 

 

 

 

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Attic24 by Lucy @ Attic24 - 1w ago

I have been....really enjoying my daily walks to and from school along the canal tow path.

I have been....loving the look of utter delight on Little B's face when we stop on the way home from school to get an ice cream from the tug boat. The best kind of Friday treat.

I have been....loving these early summer evenings, walking around my neighbourhood soaking in the views.

I have been....knitting socks using this delicious "Seascape" yarn by West Yorkshire Spinners. You can read more about this fabulous new yarn ((here)).

I have been....indulging in a new-to-me snack which I can't get enough of - why have I only just discovered these things??! Rice cakes covered in dark chocolate and topped with little bits of dried fruit (orange in this case, but the raspberry ones are my absolute favourites). Yum yum yum yum yum.

I have been....taking a break from my laptop and relaxing with my favourite summer edition magazines. Gloriously outdoorsy and colourful, a visual breath of fresh air.

I have been....dreaming about visiting the coast this summer, I am seriously craving  a sea fix.

I have been....lolling about in the Big Chair, day dreaming, reading and enjoying the warmth of the kitty on my lap when she decides to settle a while. I do adore this cushion, even though it's a bit saggy and baggy now after so much use.

I have been....inhaling the distinctive sweet/spicy scent of Sweet Williams in a jug on my table.

I have been....soaking in the brilliance of these floral colours.

I have been....enjoying a few rare and precious lie-ins and waking to the sight of fresh flowers beside my bed.

I have been....on a ship!

I have been....pootling along the canals of Amsterdam and absolutely love love loving it!

In short.....I've been enjoying  a little bit of a relaxing break and it has felt so good.

Last week was half term and I made a real effort to detach from my laptop and social media and be truly present in the moment. The Little People have all enjoyed the down time too, and all three of them have been very content to please themselves for the most part. I enjoyed some precious quiet time spent in my own little day-dreamy world and some wonderful family time too. We took a trip across the North Sea to spend a day in Amsterdam (I'll share more of that very soon, it was fun!), but aside from that our week was super-slow and spent close to home.

It has been absolutely lovely, all of it, but I'm glad to be back.....more soon.

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Attic24 by Lucy @ Attic24 - 1w ago

Twice this week I've had evening dates with Little B. At seven o'clock on the dot he comes to get me and no matter what I'm doing (crochet, knitting, social media-ing, blogging, laundry folding etc etc, the usual stuff that fills my evenings) I am not allowed to dally. Come on, come on Mummy, it's time to go! So of course I drop everything, grab a bottle of water and off we go, out into the beautiful early evening of our neighbourhood. We've created an hour long walking route this week which is uniquely ours and it's just so lovely. We start out along the canal, pass under the old mill bridge and follow the narrow footpath around the bottom of the castle. Entering into the woods by the bottom gate where the Huntress stands, the scent is overwhelming, oh my, I feel almost faint with emotion when I take that first deep breath in. Wild garlic and all the verdant growth, it's so fresh and light and green, green, green. We follow the path through the woods almost as far as the pond, then take the steep stepped pathway up, up, up into the trees which is something we've never done before (we are usually walking the opposite direction and coming down those steps). It's a huff-puff climb, but fun to go from the bottom of the woods to the top in mere minutes. Sunshine and shadows, laughter and chatter, it's just so precious, every single nano-second of it.

Just before Christmas, Little B (then aged 8 and three quarters) abruptly decided he was too old to hold my hand as we walked to school (well, walking anywhere actually). And once he decided on this he absolutely refused to go back on it. Sometimes I would catch him reaching for my hand without thinking, then a flash of remembrance and he would snatch it away super-quick. I understood it, but still, there was a persistent stab of sadness when I thought about the change and felt the loss. This week since I've been home from France he has started holding my hand again, and oh my heart feels like it wants to break free and fly up into the wide blue yonder. I haven't said anything to him about it, have allowed him to silently reach for me without the need to remark on it. It really has been the sweetest, most heart expanding experience. You hear the phrase "pulling on your heart strings" and never has this felt more true for me, I swear I can feel it happening.

 The weather has been delicious this week, truly May at it's best and I want to soak it all in and store up all the feels. My emotions are running high at the moment - I recognise it, and think it's in part due to this time of year. I'm not over analysing it, just holding myself together and allowing the days to pass gently, knowing that all is as it should be. 

Anyhow - Little B and I have so enjoyed our walks together this week, hand in hand, non stop chatter, it's an hour out of my day that feels like the greatest gift. I am so grateful......thank you for sharing it with me.

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Attic24 by Lucy @ Attic24 - 1w ago

Helloooooooo!!! It's so lovely to be back in the Attic - as you may know I was away in France last week teaching the second of my two crochet retreats with Stitchtopia Craft Holidays.

I had a wonderful time and am really looking forward to going through alllllll my photos and creating a full blog post to share the details of the retreats with you. It was such a great experience and I absolutely loved spending time in France, it was extremely relaxing and uplifting. By the way, I've had a good number of messages on Instagram and Facebook asking for more details about my crochet retreats - you can visit the Stitchtopia website and sign up for their mailing list, or email them directly and ask to be kept in the loop about what I'll be doing next year. I've agreed to teach a further two weeks next year although at the moment I don't know when or where. It's very exciting and I am already thinking about what projects I'd like to create especially for these very special retreats.

Before I left I wrote up a short post to share with you while I was gone but unfortunately my scheduling timer thingy on Typepad didn't work (grrrr) and the post disappeared into the ether never to be seen again. I don't think you missed out too much (asparagus and ice cream and crochet squares amongst other miscellaneous observations), but even so, I was cross that it didn't work out. Still - I'm back again now, adjusting to life on the domestic home front after being gloriously un-domestic all of last week.

As is often the case after I've been away from home it's taking a while for things to settle. I've felt tired and discombobulated the past few days, and with J working away from home I've felt a tad lonesome too. This morning after dropping Little B at school I decided to walk through the park and visit the farm shop, partly for the fresh air and exercise, partly because I needed to buy something for dinner and partly because I just wasn't ready to go home.

I noticed that the elderflowers are still quite a way away from bloom-time (they were already in flower in France) but if the weather remains warm and sunny then I expect they will be ready to pick in a few weeks time.

I enjoyed the farm shop, it was a quiet time to visit and I took my time selecting produce and choosing something yummy for dinner (ingredients for a Greek salad and a simple Tabbouleh salad, with some sliced ham from the deli counter). I also picked up a latte and what d'you know, a little bit of something sweet fell into my basket from the bakery section too...no idea how that happened.

On my way back through the park I took a seat at my favourite picnic table near the cherry trees and enjoyed my sunshiny morning coffee and pastry very much. So good! It felt like early summer, everything so green and bright and the sun gorgeously warm on my face.

My shopping bag was on the bench next to me as I sat and drank my coffee and I just loved the sight of my farm shop purchases nestled all together. It reminded me of the early days of my blog when I used to share the results of my little shopping trips from time to time - this post was the third post I ever wrote back in March 2008, sharing the contents of my bag after a weekly jaunt through town. 

Tomatoes, asparagus and flat leaf parlsey to feed the family.

Tulips and chocolate to feed my soul.

This chocolate it soooo hard to resist and I've been enjoying it for several years since the farm shop started selling it. It's made by a little company based in York (Choc Affair) and is the most heavenly chocolate you can imagine. The flavours are incredible and as you would expect I am mostly drawn to the Summery ones....Lime and Sea Salt is my absolute fave, but my goodness the Raspberry and Rose is like summer melting in your mouth. A beautiful treat and one I never feel guilty about indulging in. I am worth it!

These tulips were in a bucket at the till and were half price, so of course I found myself picking them up and tucking them in my bag. Pretty irresistible wouldn't you say?

I chose my rainbow striped jug to go with these flamboyant blooms, oh my heart....such a b-e-a-u-tiful sight on my table today!!!

Love love love. LOVE them!

Something else that came home in my bag was a few springs of cow parsley. This stuff grows rampant along the edge of the trees at the top of the park and every year I like to bring a little bit home. I can't have it indoors as the smell is pretty disgusting but I love to have it on my back yard table.

When I came home from my walk it was around 10am and delightfully warm so I set up my outdoor table ready for a few hours of al fresco coffee/chocolate/planner-time/hooky delight. 

I just adore cow parsley and it's one of the many (many, many) reasons that May is my favourite month. It grows in great abundance around here so I don't feel bad about bringing a little bit of it home - those teensy flowers deserve to be observed and enjoyed in detail, they are just a delight.

So...........yarny goings on are currently revolving around my bag of scraps and I couldn't be happier. This colour palette is just so unbelievably pretty and perfect for this time of year, like Spring rolling into early Summer. It's light and fresh, airy and warm and I absolutely adore it. There are thirty colours in total (although a few colours are pretty much all used up now), left overs from the making of my Sweet Pea and Dune blankets. 

Last week while I was away in France I began making some Baby Bunting triangles. I wanted an easy project that could be hooked up whilst chatting and drinking fizzy rosé wine (haha, how very decadent!), and these were perfect. 

I designed this pattern in 2014 for Simply Crochet magazine, and over the years I've made quite a few versions of it (the original version was all in blues). It's a really lovely little pattern (if I do say so myself), three simple rounds of trebles, then a little decorative edging to finish. 

I'm planning on creating a tutorial for the bunting as I've been asked for the pattern a lot over the years and had always meant to find time to share it. Aren't the colours scrumptious? 

So today I finished making fifteen triangles and they are ready to be joined along the top with 3 rows of crochet and finished with some buttons.

I'll try and make time to photograph the step by step tutorial during the next week or so, all being well. I know many of you who have been making blankets along with me will have a stash of left over yarn just like mine, and might perhaps enjoy a little bit of a decorative project.

I've not forgotten about my granny bag either - remember me showing you the beginnings of my squares a few weeks ago? 

I've got enough now (I made 36, although I only need 32, I got a bit carried away), and similar to the bunting I'll be photographing my progress as I join them and create my bag so that I can make a tutorial for you. I am so excited about both of these projects, it feels just like old times when I used to get so caught up in my creative ideas and little decorative makes.

I am currently fighting the ridiculously strong urge to start making another blanket (the addiction is real) and these small projects are helping a lot. Must. Stay. Focused.

What blanket?!

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Attic24 by Lucy @ Attic24 - 1w ago

I first discovered planning in the spring of 2015 when a search for some stickers led me to a whole online community of people who quite honestly seemed to be completely planner crazy. It was like tumbling down the most gloriously colourful, fun-filled rabbit hole you could imagine, with a whole group of new online friends encouraging me to keep on tumbling. I found the enticing world of Erin Condren Life Planners and also the very lovely Rachel who was just starting her own business {EllieBethDesignsUK} designing and making planner stickers. It opened up a fabulous new hobby for me and I've been using Erin Condren Life Planners and EllieBeth stickers ever since. You can read more about the start of my planner journey (here)

As much as I've loved having and using a yearly EC planner, one of the things that didn't work so well for me was it's size. ECLP's are big hefty things, not really portable pop-in-your-bag objects at all. I also found that there wasn't quite enough space each week for me to make notes - I much prefer to make a weekly to-do list rather than a daily one, and there was only a narrow strip outside of the daily columns for me to do this. Combine that with the high cost of an ECLP ($55, plus $20 shipping, plus a rather unpleasantly large customs fee wacked on top) and for the first time in 3 years I didn't rush to order myself one for January 2019. It was odd starting the new year without a planner, and although I had intended to buy myself some sort of a diary I never got round to it and I really did begin to miss it. I've been making lists on scraps of paper, scribbling stuff on the family calendar and feeling rather chaotic without my weekly planning routine. 

In early April I happened to read something about Personal Planner and decided to take another look. I already knew about Personal Planners as I bought one for Little Lady to use in 2016 alongside me and my Life Planner. They are smaller than EC planners in that they are a standard A5 size (well they come in 5 different sizes but the A5 is the classic size). The thing that persuaded me to try it was a brand new choice of layouts which I'll talk more about in a little bit.

Personal Planners are made in Sweden and mine took just over a week from ordering to landing in my hands here in the UK. There is a flat cost of £22.90 for a classic A5 size planner, and this includes FREE worldwide delivery which I think is brilliant.

I was soooooooooooooooo excited to unpack it and see what the cover looked like as I chose the custom option and uploaded one of my favourite hooky photos to create my front cover......... ↑↑↑

I love it so much!!!! 

One of the great things about PP is that you can choose your starting month - they run for 12 months  but you can begin with any month of the year. So mine is running from April 2019 - March 2020 and I'm really happy with that.

The cover of a PP is printed on thick glossy card, with an overlay of slightly opaque plastic to protect it. You can upload your own photo or choose from a range of designs or plain colours. There is an elastic closure to hold it all together and the whole thing feels beautifully neat and compact. I have to say I really like the size of it and already it feels like it'll be a good fit for me on a daily basis.

At the start of each month there is a calendar spread ↑↑ which I find super useful to give an overview of what's going on each month. 

I write in birthdays, appointments, meetings and holidays - anything which has a fixed date. For me, this is a functional, practical calendar and I don't bother to prettify it or worry too much about how it looks. I just get the info in there so that I can see what's going on, and where I'm supposed to be!

Now shall we talk about the all important Page Layout? I think this is the thing which really determines whether a planner will work in the long term and it's a very personal choice. PP now has 8 different layouts to choose from, with three of them being new this year. It was these new layouts which combine a diary on one side with a blank/lined page opposite that really grabbed my attention......

.....see??? This ↑↑ just seemed perfect for me.

I have enough space in the diary side to put in birthdays, meetings, school stuff, appointments etc and the opposite side can then accommodate my rather sprawling weekly to-do lists and notes. You get to choose whether to keep the pages blank, or have lines, squares or dot grid.

Along the bottom, these are called "modules" and PP offers 20 options for these module spaces which include things like to-do lists, menu plan, quotes, notes, colouring, fitness etc. As you can see, I chose the meal planner, the weekly motivational quote and the little colouring option which I absolutely love! 

At the end of each week when I sit down to think about my week ahead (usually Sunday afternoon or evening) I take a little time to indulge in some simple colouring therapy....it's just the nicest thing to do!

Planners are pretty personal things and I don't always feel comfortable about sharing them with anyone. I've bravely put this week up for you ↑↑ although I've blanked out a few names to keep privacy. You can see that I still like to use my stickers but I don't worry too much about the aesthetics of it to be honest. I just need to be able to see what's happening on each day of the week (the left side) and keep a track of what work and errands I need to do each week (the right side).

These pages are unbelievably good at keeping me grounded and helping me to focus on what needs doing. As I work by myself for the most part and my days are pretty fluid, I can so very easily become distracted and get behind with things - although I value the freedom of my days I don't like to feel too out of control or chaotic if I can help it. 

Each Personal Planner comes with a fun sheet of stickers, although having been a planning girl for three years now, I have a fair sized collection of sticky things already. There is a section at the back of the planner ↑↑ which has 20 extra notes pages and you can choose to keep them plain or have them lined, dot grid etc. You can even choose colouring or Sudoku for these back pages if you so wish....it's all good fun!

I've got the same set of pens that I've had for maybe four years now and they are still completely brilliant. I adore them - the colours are gorgeous, they write beautifully and they have a very fine 0.3mm tip which is just perfect for those dinky little colouring in things. Priorities and all that......haha! You can find them on Amazon (here), I can highly recommend them.

Now we can't talk about planners without talking about stickers, the two things go hand in hand in the most beautiful way. I am mainly a functional planner so the stickers I use the most are colourful box type ones. The ones above are quarter boxes and I also like half boxes too which are twice the height so have more writing room. I also use some headers ("To Do" being the most used) and a few little round icons every so often (coffee cups and yarn balls mainly - the stuff that makes up my daily life!).

I confess though, it's blinkin' hard to resist the lure of the decorative stickers, and although I try and sit on my hands when Rachel releases her new collections, it's really difficult to stay away. Want to see my latest splurge????

Take a look at these beauts................

These are from a collection called "The Sea is Calling", aren't they beautiful?

The colours and shell/beach theme match delightfully with my Dune blanket colours, and it won't surprise you to know that Rachel is also a crocheter and we do email back and forth and chat about colours and design ideas etc. It's always a lovely surprise when we find ourselves in creative sync with each other!

Rachel gave me another lovely surprise this week when she told me that she's set up a special discount code especially for Attic24 readers, isn't that great? You can receive 10% off any EllieBethDesigns order, not just right now but each and every time you need a sticker fix in the future. There is no underlying reason for this other than the fact that Rachel is a super lovely person and values her online planner buddies. All you need to do is apply the code ATTIC24LOVE at the checkout, or click on the following rainbow link and the 10% discount will automatically be applied at the checkout for you......

ATTIC24LOVE 10% DISCOUNT

So that's about all my planner and stickerish news wrapped up for now, I hope you've enjoyed peeking into my pages and seeing my efforts at keeping myself together. I always seem to have a lot of balls to juggle and using a planner definitely reduces the stress factor and helps to minimise the daily chaos to a certain extent. I will always be very forgetful and very much on the ditsy side, but I can't change that (and I wouldn't want to) - planning just helps keep me on track in so many little but important ways.

Over the years I've often read the phrase "finding Planner Peace" which refers to the way in which it takes time (often years) to find what works for each individual and what makes planning a personal success. There are dozens of planners out there to choose from, all different shapes, sizes, construction, layouts and functions and one size definitely does not fit all.

I'm so very happy with my Personal Planner - the size and layout, the choice of starting month, the price, the overall great quality and slightly quirky little design options makes it a winner for me. I think I may just have found Planner Peace with this one.

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ps just to reassure you this isn't a sponsored post....I bought my planner and stickers as an ordinary customer and they weren't gifted or sponsored.

pps if you are looking for some online planner buddies, I can really recommend the EllieBethDesigns Facebook group. It's super friendly and welcoming, whether you are already a planner addict or if you are looking for advice on how to get started, it's a lovely place to share and be inspired xx

 

 

 

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